Christian Florist Being Sued By State For Refusing to Accommodate Homosexual ‘Weddings’

Richland, Washington — A Christian florist in Washington has been leveled with a lawsuit from the state over her refusal to accommodate homosexual weddings.

As previously reported, Barronelle Stutzman was approached last month by one of her longtime customers, Robert Ingersoll, a homosexual, as he wanted her to supply the flowers for his upcoming ceremony with his partner, Curt.

“I just took his hands and said, ‘I’m sorry. I cannot do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ,’” Stutzman told reporters.

Ingersoll said that he was surprised by her words.

“I would send bouquets [to my partner] saying, ‘love Rob, to Kurt,’ so it came as a shock to me because I’ve had a 9-year relationship with Barronelle, and have never thought there was a reason that she wouldn’t,” he stated. “I makes me want to cry thinking about it. I respect her.”

After Ingersoll decided to post on Facebook about the matter, controversy arose on both sides of the issue — both for and against Stutzman. The florist said that she received a number of threatening and angry comments.

“It blew way out of proportion,” Stutzman explained. “I’ve had hate mail. I’ve had people that want to burn my building. I’ve had people that will never shop here again and [vow to] tell all their friends.”

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However, now the state has become involved, and on March 28th, Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued Stutzman a letter advising that she must accommodate homosexual ceremonies or be subject to a lawsuit and heavy fines.

“Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation,” he wrote. “This means that as a seller of goods or services, you will not refuse to sell floral arrangements for same-sex weddings if you sell floral arrangements for opposite-sex weddings.”

He included with his letter a form that offered Stutzman the opportunity to recant and agree to comply with the law. She refused.

Her attorney JD Bristol states that Stutzman conducts business with homosexuals on a regular basis and that she has even had homosexual employees. However, she cannot fulfill requests surrounding homosexual “marriage.”

“This is about gay marriage, it’s not about a person being gay,” he told The Seattle Times. “She has a conscientious objection to homosexual marriage, not homosexuality. It violates her conscience.”

Bristol opined that the state is rather showing favoritism to homosexuality over Christianity.

“What the government is saying here is that you don’t have the right to free religious exercise,” he said.

Therefore, because Stutzman will not violate her conscience in order to comply with the law, Ferguson filed a lawsuit against the florist this week, seeking a permanent injunction in an attempt to force her to accommodate homosexual ceremonies. He is also asking that she be fined $2,000 for every order that she refuses surrounding a same-sex “wedding.”

The Family Policy Institute of Washington says that it will fight for the florist as long as it takes.

“We will be helping to assemble Washington citizens to support this small business and communicate to our elected officials that this harassment is not being done with the consent of the governed,” stated director Joseph Backholm. “Now that the law says marriage is genderless, those who think otherwise are much more likely to be confronted with the Hobbesian choice to conform or be punished.”

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  • CLee

    Same thing is happening with a young lady who chose not to sell her home-made wedding guest book to a gay couple through the etsy website. I think it’s extremely important for Christians to make sure non-believers understand that they aren’t looking down on anyone – we are all sinners. They just simply might not agree with gay marriage and have a right to stand for what they believe. It is not against the gay people, it is against the union.

    • Kenton Forshee

      You write, “we are all sinners”

      Speak for yourself. “Sin” is a religious concept and when one doesn’t subscribe to religion then one isn’t a “sinner”.

      And by the way, you can be against someone’s “union” but still understand that said union is none of your own business and sell some flowers to a paying customer without the discrimination which Washington State has declared illegal.

      • Larry

        You sound like a “Christian Science” follower! If a rose by any
        other name would smell as sweet; the sinner by whatever name is still as bad? You are making a judgment and you have no absolute. So, the florist can refuse to sell to anyone she wants to under your logic. I discriminate against all bars because I don’t drink, the government doesn’t make me go to a bar to get a glass of water! Yet …..

        Right and wrong – good and evil – is designated by the Law Giver, and that happens to be God! Thinking you are a homosexual, or being taught that you are is the sin! It is sodomy that is a sin. Just like lying is a sin…., taking God’s name is a sin…..adultery is a sin…..stealing is a sin…..murder is a sin……coveting is a sin….. Etc. as a matter of fact …. “all unrighteousness is sin! You and I sir were born with a Sin Nature….. We ARE SINNERS! I wouldn’t allow my daughter near you because you might molest her in mind, if not actually because there aren’t “laws” accept what “majority” temporarily decides! Remember … It is you that don’t believe in moral absolutes …. I do!

  • BD McCain

    Businesses have the right to serve the clients they want. If to this merchant feels her/his ethical beliefs are being violated, it is their option. Haven’t you ever seen signs posted in businesses that service is at the discretion of the proprietor. You seem places that won’t serve people who have on no shirt or shoes that service is denied.

    Perhaps, it would behoove business owners to post whom they will not serve on a conspicuously placed sign.

  • DeAnn Caylor

    What a sad statement that this groom and groom elected to sue this lovely woman for declining to participate in their day, rather than simply respecting her position and finding another florist. Are there no other florists in the area? How far does one have to go to find a gay florist? This is nothing more than a strike at Christians. Arranging and providing flowers is art and a very personal expression. Her vehicle and she or her employees would have had to be present at the wedding site and she – and any other business person – ought to have the right in American to accept or decline any contract that conflicts with their beliefs. She would probably decline a naked wedding. Problem? No one was criticized or condemned by this lovely woman; she merely said “no thank you”. This is not about homosexuality or same-sex marriage. It is, instead, about the right for an American to conduct her business in accordance with her beliefs. Shame on those two men and let’s keep our eye on the ball here. No Scriptural debate is necessary. This is not the forum for debating homosexuality if, in fact, one exists. This is about the innate right of a business person to say “I’d rather not”.

  • Rena Bartee

    Jude 17 – A Call to Persevere
    17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18) They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19) These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20) But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21) Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22) Be merciful to those who doubt; 23)snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

  • Mil

    No need to deny to Gay ppl all you have to tell them is that the price will be $1,000,000 and this way they will not get anything or buye anything from this store. LOL